A saddle's stirrups consist of two parts: the irons where the feet are placed and the leathers that the irons hang from, though you may hear people refer to the individual parts as stirrups, too. Stirrup irons that are too small can catch your foot if you fall, or your foot could slide through irons that are too big. Stirrup leathers that are too long can give you too much extra leather, and leathers that aren't long enough will compromise your leg position. It's important, then, to measure and use appropriately fitted stirrups.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Tape measure
Measure your foot across the ball or fleshy part right behind your toes, in inches at the widest part with your riding boots on, then add an inch. This tells you what size stirrup iron you need.
Measure the stirrup iron from inside the branches on each side. The branches are the sides of the iron. This measurement should match the one from Step 1. Before measuring, check the container the stirrup irons came in, which should be marked with the width. Some manufacturers also print or engrave the width on the iron's bottom.
Measure stirrup leathers from the top of the buckle to the end of the leather, also in inches. You also can measure the width along any part of the leather, with width being a personal preference among riders depending on how much bulk you like under your leg. Most stirrup leathers are available in 48, 54 and 60 inches with holes placed every inch or every half-inch. Hunt seat riders generally use 48- or 54-inch stirrup leathers, while dressage riders prefer 54- or 60-inch leathers because they normally ride with longer stirrups. Children's stirrup leathers can be shorter.
Stirrup Irons and Leathers
Tips and warnings
- Most manufacturers offer stirrup leather and iron sizes in inches, but some will list them in centimetres.
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